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Showing posts from November, 2014

A very long day

We are here!  We had a long and, thankfully, uneventful journey to Melbourne.  We travelled through the night, to Dubai, the early morning sun creeping inside the aircraft as we flew into a new day.  
We had a couple of hours in Dubai Airport, resisting the temptation to buy one of these in duty free! It wasn't hard. And then on, and on, and on, and on, and on, through another night to arrive in Melbourne early on Friday morning, and a joyful reunion with our son, his lovely lady, and our glorious little 2 year old granddaughter.  She ran to meet us as the airport, calling Mama and Pops all the way.  That made the long journey worthwhile in itself! 

Up, up and away!

Tomorrow Mr Gaucho and I jet off to Australia for six weeks.  I have spent the morning doing housework - yuk - in the hope that things will stay more or less clean and tidy while we are away! The cat and the dog will still be in residence (not home alone I hasten to add!), so I can only hope for a modicum of cleanliness when we get back!

Having finished my chores, and before starting on the ironing, I took the dogs for a walk round the fields at the end of the drive.  I didn't take my camera (always a mistake).  It is hard to take decent photos when holding two leads!  We walked through the stone pillars and I went to inspect the undergrowth where the violets grow in Spring.  To my amazement I could see a carpet of little, emerald green heart-shaped leaves.  The weather is still so mild that I fear they may be in for a bit of a shock by the time the year is out.

Walking on, and the red cabbage field in the distance was the colour those little violet flowers will be, when they finall…

Sorry about this

but I have become mildly obsessed with autumnal beech leaves.  This year they seem to be particularly beautiful, especially with the sun shining on them, and a backdrop of soft blue sky.  There is a straggle of young beech trees running along the back boundary of our garden.  They are only small trees, dotted about, but rain or shine, gloom or glow, their glorious ginger-biscuit coloured leaves shine out, bringing a warmth and beauty to the wood as it declines into winter.
I just can't resist them!

I love an optimist!

This bramble is obviously an optimist.  There's little chance of it producing any berries, but it's going for it anyway.  And why not!  There's far too much negativity going on in the world. We need all the positive thinkers we can muster. It's a quiet morning here in East Lothian, weather-wise.  The clear, washed east coast skies are lovely, as always, and the dogs and I enjoyed a muddy walk around a couple of big fields.  A very good start to the day.

A Poem House

I had a great day yesterday.  I went to a workshop run by an artist called Brigid Collins. She is a delightful, clever, thoughtful lady who manages to combine the written word with the visual arts. She described her work as three dimensional collage, and that description seems to fit the bill! Her website is very worthwhile exploring, and there you can see some of her poem houses.

We had to take a poem along with us, as well as some bits and pieces we thought we might like to work with.  I have an old exercise book, labelled 'Elocution', which belonged to my mother.  This book dates from the 1920s.  In her childish hand there are lots of poems, written out carefully, to be learnt and recited at school.  There are a few corrections on the pages, made by her teacher.  

From Mum's book, I photographed 'From a Railway Carriage' by Robert Louis Stevenson.  It is a poem I also learnt as a child and I still think of it, es…

At the end of the day

I love seeing weather fronts stretching across the sky.  This is what today's looked like, around four o'clock this afternoon.  
It rained all day, but just before the rain moved off, out to sea, the sun came out, shining from the west.  It created the most amazing rainbow I have ever seen.  It was so big that I couldn't get the whole thing into one photo.
And then a dove grey sky, with curls of silver cloud.  A beautiful end to an awful day of weather!

Witches on the heath weather

It's real witches on heath weather today - iron grey and windy with huge, cold raindrops.  Not nice at all.  However, completely unfazed by classic November weather, and glowing in the wood behind the house, are the beech trees.  

Not a classic November day!

There was a very soft and pretty light early this morning.  When I came out of my art class in Portobello at 12 noon, the sun was shining and there was not a breathe of wind.  I drove towards Musselburgh and the sea to my left was like a mill pond.  And in the hazy, blue-grey distance was Cockenzie Power Station, looking as romantic in that light as any power station could possibly look!  
I am really going to miss those two chimneys when they demolish them, sooner now than later.  :o(

A small tribute to my sweet pea plants

I am posting this photo of the last of my sweet peas, picked this morning, before I cleared the raised bed where they have been growing this year.  When I got back from Australia in July, I really didn't expect the plants to flower much beyond the beginning of August.  They had not been picked while I was away, and they do like to be picked and picked, to keep the flowers coming.  The old flower heads had produced masses of seed pods, so I cut as many off as I could, gave the plants some feed, and, bless their hearts, they have persevered until today. Hooray!

"Don't forget me, cobber"

I have posted this photograph before, in 2012, but it seems even more appropriate this year, as we remember all those men who fought for us so bravely during the devastating years of the First World War.  'Don't forget me, cobber' is a bronze sculpture, sited just down the hill in the wonderful parkland surrounding the Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne.   'Don't forget me, cobber', was the cry uttered by a fallen Australian soldier as battle rescuers were recovering casualties from no-mans-land, following the Battle of Fromelles on 19 July 2016. It's disappointing not to have been able to see all those commemorative poppies, flowing around the walls of the Tower of London.   A similar tribute could perhaps have been sited up north, in York for example, to reach more of the population.  But I hear, now, that there is going to be a touring exhibition, so perhaps it will come to Edinburgh, although hopefully not while we are away in Australia during December! …

Remember, remember, the 5th of November

Gunpowder, treason and plot

No gunpowder, no treason and no reason to plot anything dastardly in these parts, but I couldn't resist spending some time in the garden this afternoon, to light a bonfire.  It was a modest affair, but I got rid of some of the dead stuff I have been cutting back in the flower beds and along the lavender hedge, and it was just good to be outside in the sunshine.

There are still some leaves to come down off the trees, but, as everything is dying back, there has been the emergence of new, green life.  The arums have produced a fresh batch of their beautiful, ornate leaves.  I'm not sure if they have their timing right, but the leaves are welcome nevertheless!

Colour rules!

In term time I start my week with an art class in Portobello.  I have a great teacher.  Jemma Derbyshire (, a very talented young artist as well as an excellent tutor.  Jemma loves colour, and so do I.  During the last two lessons we have been using luscious colour, and today we finished off a painting we started last week.

This was my little corner of a larger still life set up.  These three peppers are tiny, and that is part of a leek running along the top!
We had a fairly limited palette of colours to work with.  Jemma always knows exactly what combinations you need, and how much down to the last smidge, to get the colour you want. That's what happens when you know your stuff! This is my piece.  It's colourful, if nothing else!
Whatever the end result, the class is always a great start to a busy week!

Pinch punch ….

… it's the first of the month.  It's November, which seems slightly mad for a number of reasons. Firstly, how did we get here so quickly?  This year seems to have galloped past at the most alarming rate.  And it's so warm.  Yesterday was just silly.  Temperature-wise there was very little chill attached to Halloween!  The children went to North Berwick for a spot of trick or treating. They had a selection of corny jokes to tell, which must have gone down well because they came home, each with an enormous carrier bag of sweets, enough to keep them going until Christmas!

Tilly and I had a wonderful walk today.  We haven't been to the beach at Tyninghame for weeks, so we put our best feet forward, on a bright, sunny morning.

I know that sea buckthorn is an invasive plant, but I do love it.  The colours are so subtle, soft orange berries and silvery grey leaves.  To reach the top of the dune you have to walk through a thicket of buckthorn.  As always, the view from the top d…